Science is hands-on and fun at Fermilab’s Family Open House on Jan. 31

Fermilab's annual Family Open House offers educational fun for the whole family. This year's event is on Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1-5 p.m. Photo: Fermilab.

Fermilab’s annual Family Open House offers educational fun for the whole family. This year’s event is on Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1-5 p.m. Photo: Fermilab.

Fermilab’s Family Open House is more than just an annual tradition. It’s a chance for the whole family to spend an afternoon learning about science in a hands-on way and have fun doing it. The Open House is earlier than usual this year – on Sunday, Jan. 31 from 1-5 p.m. – but it promises the same sense of wonder you’ve come to expect.

This year’s event will include activities for the whole family, from hands-on science exhibits to tours of some of the lab’s attractions. There will be a series of performances by Jerry Zimmerman, the ever-popular “Mr. Freeze,” demonstrating the (very) cool effects of liquid nitrogen, and about a dozen scientists will be ready to answer questions in the exhibit area on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall.

In the atrium, families can enjoy a “physics carnival,” including interactive exhibits by students from four area schools: West Aurora High School, St. Charles East High School, Naperville Central High School and Quincy Notre Dame High School. On the second floor of Wilson Hall, you can play “Cosmic Shuffleboard” while learning about the role of dark energy in the universe.

Fermilab’s new operations center on the first floor of Wilson Hall will also be accessible for the Open House. Many of Fermilab’s experiments are controlled from this room, and there will be operators at their stations, all of them ready to talk about the work they are doing. Next door to that operations center, a panel of lab employees will present an interactive talk about their day-to-day jobs.

This year, in addition to tours of the linear accelerator and main control room, there will be two special tours on offer: one to see the 50-foot-wide Muon g-2 electromagnet that was transported from New York in 2013, and one to visit a laboratory where parts of our neutrino beam production devices are created.

Tours of the linear accelerator and main control room will be given throughout the day, with no registration required. Attendees will need to register in advance for the Muon g-2 and neutrino horn lab tours. These tours will fill up fast, so those who want in should register quickly at There are a limited number of seats available, and standbys will be accepted. More information is available behind the link.

The Family Open House is free of charge. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event.

“The Family Open House is geared toward giving kids a taste of science as something approachable and interesting,” said Spencer Pasero, head of the Office of Education and Public Outreach at Fermilab. “We want them to come in, have fun, and leave knowing that pursuing a career in science is within their reach.”

The Family Open House is made possible by an anonymous donor to the non-profit Fermilab Friends for Science Education organization.

Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and is operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC. Visit Fermilab’s website at, and follow Fermilab on Facebook at and on Twitter @FermilabToday.

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